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Cryptologic Hall of Honor

The Cryptologic Hall of Honor was created in 1999 to pay special tribute to the pioneers and heroes who rendered distinguished service to American cryptology.

The standards are high for induction into this great hall. The individuals honored were innovators over their entire careers or made major contributions to the structure and processes of American cryptology. The men and women who have been inducted to the Cryptologic Hall of Honor are all greats in the once silent world of cryptology.

In the early days of America's cryptologic effort, many of the "giants" did both Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance. They made important contributions to both offensive and defensive cryptology. As such, they were among the first inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor.

Hilda Faust Mathieu

2018 Hall of Honor Inductee


Computer network pioneer Hilda Faust Mathieu was an early advocate recognizing network vulnerabilities and one of the driving forces developing security controls for network protection.

Based on earlier work evaluating conventional cryptomachines, Ms. Mathieu’s review of the security of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) record communication system in the 1960s led her to conclude that the government’s computer networks were vulnerable to attack. One of the first to try to convince the government of the vulnerabilities, she was a major contributor to the 1970 Rand Report and to the U.S. Air Force Computer Technology Planning Study of 1972.  Both addressed alarming security problems in government computer data.

When the Director of NSA established the Department of Defense Computer Security Center in 1981, he appointed Ms. Mathieu Chief of Research and Development for Computer Security. In the mid-1980s, Ms. Mathieu formulated the then-controversial concept that computer network exploitation was a feasible and worthwhile goal. She also recruited the first engineers to begin target development and exploitation. Her vision evolved into a major operational component of NSA.

Hilda Faust Mathieu was instrumental in beginning one of present-day NSA’s largest and most critical operational components. Despite internal opposition, she and a small team convinced senior leadership to acknowledge an innovative new target area.

Ms. Mathieu retired in 1992, before seeing full-scale implementation of her vision and the benefits it would bring to our nation’s security.  Her visionary ideas and practical applications underlie much of what is done today at NSA and United States Cyber Command.